- Prime minister Medvedev and his cabinet resigned.
- Putin proposed changes to the Russian constitution.
- The President will have full control of the judges.
- The changes are expected to be approved this fall by the electorate.
On January 15, 2020 Vladimir Putin gave a key speech that is about to change Russia’s trajectory forever. It is clear Putin will follow the steps of Chinese President Xi to be pretty much a forever leader.
In the opening statement, Putin said that Russian constitution is constant and it does not need changing. Of course, there was an immediate round of applause. However, he then immediately said the constitution needs to be amended. Putin’s supporters immediately joined in the ovation and ecstasy. Such reaction reminds one of the old Soviet Era and the reactions to the Czar.
The proposed changes to Russian constitution:
- A creation of a new Russian constitution is not needed at this time.
- International treaties and law can only apply if it does not interfere with Russian constitution and Russian interests.
- The presidential candidates have to reside in Russia a minimum of 25 years without holding any additional citizenship, resident permits or a prolonged stay outside of the Russian Federation.
- Key positions in the Russian government cannot be filed by any individual who holds additional citizenship or a resident permit.
- The constitution will support only one governing party, without opposition. Therefore, it is back to the good old Politburo during the Soviet Era, which was the highest policy-making authority within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was founded in October, 1917, and refounded in March, 1919 at the 8th Congress of the Bolshevik Party. It was known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966.
- An amendment to the pension indexation.
- The governors would get additional powers and more influence on the federal scale. This change would mean governors entering elite circles and becoming of high importance in Moscow. It is very similar to what Czarist Russia had and was created in 1906.
- The parliament will have additional power and accountability during the formation of the Cabinet. The Gosduma will be responsible for the selection of Prime Minister and Ministers. The State Duma, commonly abbreviated in Russian as Gosduma, is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, while the upper house is the Council of the Federation. The Duma headquarters are located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to as deputies. The Gosduma’s power will be nominal. It is just an imitation of power meant to legitimize Putin’s choices. Nevertheless, if anything goes wrong, it will be even easier to blame the Gosduma and write off any failures.
- The parliament is a Bobblehead and will have no say. It is a country run by one person. Putin de facto owns Russia.
- The president holds the right to remove prime minister and ministers.
- The president will have full control of the military and law enforcement.
- The leaders of the military and law enforcement will be appointed solely by the president.
- Russian regions will have to abide by presidential decisions and federal systems and will not be able to implement or create local laws.
- The president has a right to remove judges. Therefore, the Constitutional and Higher Court become just an instrument for Putin, since any judge now will be removed by Putin for insubordination.
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Putin offered to allow Russian citizens to vote on the constitution amendments.
The key economic elements in Putin’s speech:
- Historically low inflation.
- The Central Bank bears responsibility to increase the standard of life in Russia.
- In 2021, Russia expected to hit high growth.
- A stimulus of investments.
- Free access to social media without requiring payment for the internet (meaning the Kremlin wants to control every citizen and encourages them to join social media. To join they need all passport information, passport, etc. and all personal posts and metadata are collected).
- Students from Grade 1 to 4 will be receiving free hot meals. The funding will be provided through federal, regional and municipal budgets.
- Teachers to get additional bonus.
- A low mortgage offered to families with two or more children,.
- Families with three or more children will qualify for the government paying off the remainder of their mortgage.
- A program of government giving funds for each child born. The program currently only had provisions starting at the second child. It is called mother’s capital program and it will continue until 2026.
- More spots will be available for free university education,
- The families with more than two children will get additional funding every month.
- More availability of free prescription drugs (It is impossible to get high quality drugs for free in Russia period).
Overall, it means that the President won’t have much accountability, as all the power is transferred, but what it really means is that Putin will be the emperor from now on. Yet, he is throwing a few socialist programs into the mix to appease Russian citizens. At the same time, he’s gaining a myriad of government scapegoats to blame.
It is a given that the changes will be approved in the fall by the electorate.
Prime Minister Medvedev and his cabinet quit to allow Putin to go ahead with his grandiose empirical plan. Putin immediately nominated new Prime Nister Mikhail Mishutin, who was formerly Federal Tax Service Chief.
In conclusion, this is it for Russia. Your Czar Putin has spoken and the trajectory is announced.